The First Baptist family has much to rejoice about when we think of our 173 year history. God has greatly blessed this fellowship with a rich heritage. Today, as we celebrate our past, we also rejoice in what God is presently doing in and through our fellowship. We have a renewed spirit of evangelism and outreach. God is moving and working in the life of our church family in a very special way today. We also look forward to what He will continue to do in the First Baptist family in the years ahead.
Our Mission Statement tells the whole story. We as a church are "Building upon the Lord Jesus Christ as our foundation and relying on the power of the Holy Spirit." There is no other foundation than the Lord Jesus on which we can build. And we must build, not in our power, but in the power that God's Spirit brings to our lives. This is a worthy goal for any church.
Then we say, "First Baptist Church of Lilburn is 'The Church That Loves' God and His Word, 'The Church That Loves' one another and 'The Church That Loves' the nations." The first and foremost commandment given to us by our Lord was to love God with all our heart, strength, soul, and mind. And you best learn to love Him by loving His Word. We also know that we love God when we love what He loves, and He loves the nations, all the people of the world. What a blessing it is to be known as a church that loves God and His Word and loves the people of all nations.
It is also a blessing to know that this church family deeply loves one another. Jesus said "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this will all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
A friend of mine often said to his congregation, "The best is yet to come." In fact, I think the apostle Paul put it best in Ephesians 3:20-21, when he said, "Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen."
May God bless and continue to use the First Baptist Church of Lilburn for His purposes and glory in the years to come.
Jesus is Lord!
The Beginnings: A Log Cabin
A drawing, by Lucile McDaniel Baldwin, illustrates the first home of
Liberty Baptist Church. The original records (top left) give a look back at how things were when horse & buggy were the way to go (bottom right).
On Feb. 22, 1840, under a spreading oak tree at the home of William McDaniel, nine former members of Camp Creek Primitive Baptist Church, who believed they had been unconstitutionally dismissed, organized Liberty Baptist Church. Two local ministers, Luke Robinson and Daniel Cook, conducted services, acted as presbyters, and aided the members in organizing the church.
As evidence of unity, the members extended to one another the right hand of fellowship, thus constituting the first missionary Baptist church in Lilburn, Georgia.
Those members wasted no time sharing their faith with the lost in the surrounding countryside. Just one month after the church was established, the first convert was baptized. The following year, the members built a log-cabin church on an acre of land donated by William McDaniel.
Perhaps the church's rich history can best be traced by surveying the church houses that sheltered a flock of followers faithful to this two-fold approach - evangelism and expansion- to making and teaching disciples.
An Era of Change: A White Frame Building
Baptisms were performed outside (top & middle right).
Just 30 years after Liberty Baptist Church was organized, the congregation outgrew its log-cabin worship house. A building committee was appointed and a white frame building, valued at $750, was erected in 1871.
In March 1896, Liberty Baptist Church organized its first Sunday School. Interestingly, though worship services were held only once a month, Sunday School met every Sunday afternoon.
A highlight of the white-frame-building era was a dynamic revival held in 1920. Ardent Bible-centered preaching drew throngs of people; since all of them could not be seated, many stood through the services. God blessed and during that week 66 persons united with the church - 41 by profession of faith, 25 by letter.
In 1924, members designated the fourth Sunday in May as Homecoming day. Dinner on the grounds and an afternoon of singing followed morning worship services. This practice continued into the mid 1950's. In 1933, leaving some old traditions behind, the church began holding worship services twice monthly - on the second and fourth Sundays.
Preparing for Progress: A Brick House of Worship
Three gatherings: A homecoming (top left),
the ladies of the W.M.U. (top right)
and a Sunday School class (bottom left).
Under the leadership of T. W. Jones, the congregation remodeled and bricked the white-frame worship house. The remodeled structure was dedicated debt-free on May 28, 1939, thus ushering in an era of innovation:
• the adoption of the church's first annual budget ($862)
• the initiation of a women's mission program
• the building of a pastorium, to house the church's first full-time pastor, Cecil A. Smith, who was called in 1953
• installation of the first baptismal pool
• the introduction of a structured stewardship (tithing) program
• the addition of an educational building, a fellowship hall, kitchen, and rest rooms in 1964
Perhaps the renaming of the church in 1965 to First Baptist Church of Lilburn, Ga., stands out as the most memorable event of this period in the church's history. The construction of I-85 through then-rural Gwinnett County would soon bring more change. As one prophetic church leader put it:"...I-85 is going to put Lilburn, Georgia, on the map. Atlanta is spreading our way and we had better get ready."
Gothic Is Gone; Growth Is In: The Joy Sanctuary
The Joy Sanctuary provided room to grow (top left, top right).
The addition of a church bus (bottom right)
gave more options for reaching out.
The completion of I-85 brought growth that still has not abated. By building a 750-seat auditorium (now called the Joy Sanctuary) - when membership attendance was just above 400 - First Baptist Lilburn was prepared for a population explosion in the county and within the church.
Jack Evans' ministry (1965-1973) produced a number of "firsts," including:
• the hiring of a secretary
• the calling of a second full-time minister (responsible for youth activities and music)
• the initiation of a weekday kindergarten program
Under the leadership of Pastor Carl Marshall (1977-1983), ground was broken for a 36,000-square-foot educational building. A family recreation park was also developed.
Marshall was instrumental in the church's adoption of the theme, Total Family Ministry, and expansion of programs to preschoolers, children, youth and senior adults. Other special programs, including a deaf ministry, were begun during Marshall's pastorate.
150 Years and Beyond: The Life Building
The most recent groundbreaking was for a new
Fellowship Hall (top right).
While the Life Building undergoes improvements,
ministries like Camp Promise (bottom left)
continue to impact the community.
The church observed its 150th anniversary on May 27, 1990. That celebration coincided with the inaugural sermon of the church's new pastor, Dr. J. Mike Minnix (1990-2002). Under his leadership, the church increased it ministries, its missions and its facilities. In 1992, a new multipurpose worship center, the Life Building, was completed.
Dr. Minnix motivated hundreds of members to participate in mission trips at home and abroad, and initiated innovative outreach programs to the church's multi-ethnic neighbors. Just before leaving the church in May 2002 to assume responsibilities with the Georgia Baptist Convention, Dr. Minnix led the congregation to underwrite a three-phase facility expansion program. The first phase, which included a new fellowship hall and assorted renovations, was completed last November.
Since June 2003, the church welcomed its ninth full-time pastor, Rev. Ken Hall. He has enthusiastically assumed the mantle of leadership and, with God's guidance, is faithfully continuing on the course chosen many years ago to reach and teach the lost - ever widening the church's sphere of influence. The Worship Center has been completed along with the Family Life/Recreation Center. In addition to the English speaking congregation there are seven other language churches worshipping at First Baptist Church of Lilburn.
168 Years and Beyond: The Worship Center (2)
The new Worship Center (top), Family Life Building (left),
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